Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011-2012 NBA Preview #22: New York Knicks

The East starts to take shape....

Roster Breakdown (Starters in Bold)
  • PG - Baron Davis* (Injured), Toney Douglas, Mike Bibby
  • SG - Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert
  • SF - Carmelo Anthony, Bill Walker, Renaldo Balkman
  • PF - Amare Stoudemire, Jared Jeffries, Steve Novak
  • C - Tyson Chandler, Jerome Jordan, Josh Harrellson

General Thoughts

There is significant talent on this team. There is no depth on this team. The two previous sentences seem to contradict themselves, but when you have a top 3 of Anthony, Stoudemire, and a currently-healthy Tyson Chandler, you can achieve both things. First of all, I've never been a fan of the Anthony/Stoudemire duo together simply because neither of them defend or create offense for their teammates, but it also can't be denied that the offensive contributions they are capable of can take this team places. The Chandler signing was a curious one for a few reasons. Firstly, Chandler has a pretty checkered injury history so guaranteeing him 4 years of near-max salary at this stage of his career is pretty bold. Secondly, in order to clear space for him, they had to burn their amnesty clause (a big deal when Amare and his uninsured knees are on the team) AND got rid of their previous 3rd option in Billups. All that said, if they are getting the Chandler from the Dallas championship run last year, he's an absolutely perfect fit because he can cover up for the defensive shortcomings (being kind) of the rest of the roster, run the court in the D'Antoni system, and catch potential alley-oops from Baron Davis. Don't worry, we'll get to Baron in the paragraph below. The depth on this team is pretty non-existent because of the way they've used their cap. Toney Douglas is an NBA rotation guy IMO, and he's certainly their best bench option at either guard spot. Mike Bibby runs around with a gigantic fork sticking out of his back and shouldn't be counted on in any way, shape, or form ESPECIALLY in an offense that relies on the point guard to push tempo. Jared Jeffries can be a valuable piece, but it's not the best sign in the world when he's your #1 frontcourt option off the bench. It's pretty weak after the top 3 (or four), but on the bright-ish side, D'Antoni is famous for running his starters into the ground and playing short rotations anyway.


Baron. Davis. This is the biggest no-brainer in the entire league as far as x-factors go. If you had the pleasure of watching Baron work in the 2007 playoffs, you've seen what he's capable of on the positive side. If you had the misfortune of seeing him "work" at times in LA over the past couple of years, you've seen the bad Baron that gets fat, takes entire games off, and launches 23 footers instead of using his immense quickness and strength to blow by unsuspecting guards. I will credit Bill Simmons for this one, but one thing about Baron is that he's clearly taken to another level when he plays in front of lively crowds (watch that 2007 game tape), and MSG will provide that for him 33 times this year. I think signing him was a tremendous move because of the relatively low-risk and gigantic upside, but let's not forget that a) this team actually NEEDS him in order to be a contender, and b) he's legitimately hurt and probably fat right now. I have no idea what happens here.

Predicted Finish

4th in the East

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